Norwich City dream team has room for Blackburn striker


6:00 AM June 11, 2022

There’s no doubt there will be changes at Norwich City this summer – how many we do not know because the club are keeping that close to their chests.

But now the transfer window is open, it’s time for a challenge: imagine you’ve got a few quid to spend on players – nothing extravagant, just what you think City’s sporting director Stuart Webber will be working with. Then, taking just six members of the current squad, pick a Norwich City starting line-up for the first game of the new season.

Given that Isaac Hayden has already joined before the transfer window officially opened and on the assumption he hasn’t come south to watch from the subs’ bench, he gets straight into the team.

And the reason there is no Max Aarons (because there would always be in my team) it’s simply because I think he will move on. This dream team budget may be stretched a little but, hey, it’s only play money …

My team for day one (4-3-3) …

Norwich City's opening day line-up, anyone?

Norwich City’s opening day line-up, anyone?
– Credit: Archant

Angus Gunn

Angus Gunn has been handed opportunities throughout this season at Norwich City

Angus Gunn – time to take over
– Credit: Paul Chesterton / Focus Images Ltd

He’s had enough time playing second fiddle to a team-mate. Back end of last season he showed his ability, but being in and out of the side does no one any good. Tim Krul may be a fans’ favorite, but when it comes down to goalkeeping skills, there is still an element of ‘watch from behind the sofa’ about him. I think a couple of gaffes at the end of last season have opened the door for Gunn – and it should stay open.

Neco Williams

Fulham's Neco Williams during the Sky Bet Championship match at Craven Cottage, London

Neco Williams in action for promoted Fulham last season
– Credit: PA

This is a loan signing. Williams was excellent for Wales in their play-off win over Ukraine. He’s got a bit of rawness about him, but he does not stop working. Good attacking skills and, as a Liverpool player, comes with a pretty good season-long warranty.

Andrew Omobamidele

Andrew Omobamidele is yet to make his mark under Dean Smith at Norwich City

Andrew Omobamidele – bad luck with injuries last season, but has a big future
– Credit: Paul Chesterton / Focus Images Ltd

After a season ruined by injury it’s time City fans saw the best of him. Cool as a cucumber, as he has proved, but powerful, and reads the game well. Absolutely no doubt he will develop even more and City will have a really good player on their hands. As well as being a playing asset, he is a business asset as well.

Grant Hanley

Grant Hanley ensured Norwich City kept a clean sheet at Brighton and Hove Albion.

Grant Hanley – quality, leadership and experience
– Credit: Paul Chesterton / Focus Images Ltd

Hopefully he will stay: at the age of 30 there is a fear that he has got one more big move in him – and that has to be a temptation. You could name a few Premier League clubs who would fancy him. But lose him and you lose a big voice, a presence, and a snarl.

Harry Toffolo

Former Norwich City defender Harry Toffolo

Former Norwich City defender Harry Toffolo has developed into a quality player at Huddersfield
– Credit: PA


Watched him in the FA Youth Cup side of 2012-13 and he was good then, but this has surely been his best season as he helped Huddersfield to the Championship play-off final. Good defender, but fantastic attacking full-back – scored five goals in their final 10 matches. Terriers would be hugely reluctant to let him go, but he was raised at Carrow Road … time to come home.

James Garner

Nottingham Forest's James Garner (center) against Huddersfield

James Garner – set-piece specialist ,,, and more
– Credit: PA

Another loan, this time from Manchester United. Helped Nottingham Forest to promotion. Can’t see him breaking into United’s first team, so another loan is possible. Good at set-pieces, clever player, and with a bit of edge to his game.

Isaac Hayden

Newcastle United's Isaac Hayden during the pre-season friendly match at the AESSEAL New York Stadium

Isaac Hayden – Norwich’s first summer signing in the bag nice and early
– Credit: PA

His loan move from Newcastle was confirmed in the week and, as mentioned earlier, he’s a starter. Box to box, bags of energy, likes a tackle – just what City have been missing for a while now.

Conor Hourihane

Sheffield United's Connor Hourihane applauds supporters after the Sky Bet Championship match at Bram

Connor Hourihane – stylish midfielder
– Credit: PA

Bit of a left-field one, but well-known to Dean Smith, so there’s a nod to that connection in play. But he is skilful, no doubt, and could be the ideal supply line for Teemu Pukki.

Jonathan Rowe

Norwich City's Jonathan Rowe impressed during a lively cameo against Liverpool.

Jonathan Rowe – his time has come
– Credit: Paul Chesterton / Focus Images Ltd

Showed a few glimpses of his ability last season, but it’s time to prove himself of what should be an easier stage. Good pace, good intentions – still got the innocence of youth that makes him less cautious, and therefore more exciting. Will worry the life out of defenders.

Teemu Pukki

Teemu Pukki has been presented with the Barry Butler Memorial Award at Colney

No Norwich City team would be complete without Teemu Pukki
– Credit: Paul Chesterton / Focus Images Ltd

First name on the list, obviously. He’s better than most people outside of Norwich seem to think. Deceptive turn of pace, but he’s clever; his runs are magnificent. And he can finish. All he needs is the right pass. And Garner and Hourihane would supply

Ben Brereton Diaz

Blackburn Rovers' Ben Brereton Diaz celebrates after he scores blackburn's 2nd goal during the Sky B

Ben Brereton Diaz – could Norwich persuade him to head to Norfolk?

– Credit: PA

Been a fan of his for some time, before he added the Diaz. Can play down the middle but also comes in from the left. Physically bigger than Pukki – City need some variety in attack and Brereton Diaz brings it. And if you are wondering about the cost, this is where the Aarons money goes. Big task to sell City to him ahead of Premier League interest, but, again, this is the dream team …

Now it’s your turn – pick your dream team for the opening day. Same rules apply – six current Norwich City players, the rest new signings. Leave your team in the comments section …


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